Beavs run wild, crank up D, stun No. 6 ASU!

OREGON STATE played a physically, punishing game on a frigid Saturday night in Corvallis. And in crunch time in the fourth quarter, Oregon State just went off on No. 6 Arizona State. First they grabbed the lead, storming back from a 10-point halftime deficit on the way to outscoring ASU 21-3 in the second half. At the end and with everything on the line, the Doctor was in and Alexander was Great.

With Oregon State clinging to a 28-27 lead, Michael Doctor's pick-six with 1:38 left in the fourth quarter covered 35 yards. But ASU still had time, trailing by eight with all three timeouts and the ball on their own 25-yard line.

The Beavs forced an incompletion followed by a sack courtesy of Lavonte Barnett. But on third-and-18, ASU picked up 16 hashes on a swing pass. On fourth-and-two, D.J. Alexander - lined up in the interior of a four-man rush -- plowed through the left guard and sacked Sun Devil QB Taylor Kelly for a loss of 13 yards.

Like so many of the hits the Beaver D delivered in that fourth quarter, it was a decaffeinator.

GIVE CREDIT TO Mike Riley at 28-27 late in the game for having the guts to punt on fourth-and-one from the ASU 46-yard line. Everyone in the stands, plus an animated Dylan Wynn on the sidelines, was imploring for him to go for it.

OSU had racked up a ton of rushing yards on the night (247 hashes unofficially) so it seemed to make perfect sense to roll the dice. But the Beavs had also been stoned on some running plays leading up to the pivotal decision.

And if OSU turned the ball over on downs, ASU had only a couple first downs to move into field goal position - and in position to win the game.

Riley never hesitated in calling for the punt team. ASU began on the their own 15 and moved to the 30-yard line. The grumbles grew louder.

Then ASU seemed to have a big gainer down the left sideline to star Jaelen Stong but CB Steven Nelson, who played one whale of a game, had a magnificent strip on a play where both the Beaver corner and ASU wideout stayed down on the turf.

That was the biggest turning point, in a game full of turning points.

Without Nelson's strip, ASU has a first down at Oregon State's 41-yard line, trailing by one with less than two minutes left. But the strip meant the Sun Devils had to set up shop at their own 30 again.

On the very next snap, Doctor picked off the pass to send the Beaver Faithful into an ear-busting delirium of black and orange pride.

OREGON STATE RAN wild in this one, keyed by two big gallops from scrimmage.

ASU blitzed all night long and OSU burned them early. First, Storm Woods went 78 yards up the gut -- no one was left home in the middle and the Beavs took a 7-0 lead with 11:17 left in the first quarter. Later in the first quarter, Terron Ward made a slicing, dicing 66-yard run to paydirt to make it 14-3, again beating the Sun Devil blitz on the play.

But the Beaver D set the tone with a three-and-out to start the game. Oregon State players were mostly in short sleeves with a temperature of 26 degrees to start the game. ASU was bundled up head to toe and looked miserable.

Still, ASU warmed up in late in the first quarter, closing to 14-10 on a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

The second quarter was all ASU.

Two touchdowns, and it could have been more, put ASU up 24-14 at the half. One of those TDs came on a sack of Sean Mannion and a 36-yard fumble return.

ASU squandered a couple more chances, though, including a short field goal attempt. And any ASU momentum died in the locker room.

Oregon State took over in the third quarter though their first drive ended when the Beavs went for it all on fourth-and-one from the ASU 19-yard line. The pass in the end zone to Claeb Smith was incomplete.

That could have been a dagger, with all the good work that preceded it went for naught. But OSU on their next possession went on an 11-play, 87-yard drive, capped by a 20-yard TD pass from Mannion to Victor Bolden.

It was the start of something, and was followed by Jordan Villamin's 67-yard TD reception that put the Beavs up for good at 28-27.

On both plays, the Beaver o-line provide Mannion a solid pocket against ASU's blitz.

It was the most complete game Oregon State has played all season. It left ASU cold -- literally and figuratively, their playoff dreams over.

The Beaver fans leaving Reser, meanwhile, they departed oblivious to the elements.

We'll have more later here on BF.C...

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